Sea Captains' Views on Automated Ship Route Optimization in Ice-covered Waters
Safety in ice-covered polar waters can be optimised via the choice of a ship's route. This is of utmost importance for conventional as well as autonomous ships. However, the current state of the art in e-Navigation tools has left two open questions. First, what essential information are these tools still missing, and second, how they are seen by sea captains. In order to address these questions, we organised an ice navigation workshop to systematically collect routing justifications given by and waypoints planned by experienced sea captains that are particularly seasoned in ice navigation. Here, we report the outcome of that workshop. Our key findings include the reasoning and the commentary of the participants in looking for a better and safer route. These comments shed light upon both the official and unofficial code of conduct in open waters and boil down into a list of additional prerequisite information if further steps towards system autonomy are sought. Finally, the expert-planned waypoints are to be published alongside this paper to act as a benchmark for future maritime studies.